When I went to dinner with some friends, I took them some formentini, biscuits I had baked. I also gave a few to the other couple who was there.
After a delicious dinner followed by an elaborate meringue pudding, I departed feeling extremely well fed and as if I might not be able to eat for a week. A few days later I received a surprising email from the other couple telling me they had loved the cookies, had eaten them all before they arrived home (only a 10-minute drive away!) and asking for the recipe. Here it is.
Formentini (cornmeal cookies)
The name comes from the word formenton which means maize or corn in the Garfagnana dialect. The recipe is from a wonderful little book of traditional recipes of the Lucca region, Cucina di Lucchesia e Versilia, by Emiliana Lucchesi.
Quantity: masses (I make half a recipe)
600 g plain white flour
400 g corn meal
400 g sugar
225 g butter, gently melted
1 packet baking powder (16 g)
juice and grated rind of 1 orange
Sieve together the two types of flour and the baking powder and pour them onto a pastry board (spianatoia) in a mound. Make a hole in the centre and add the other ingredients. Knead everything well with your hands, adding enough milk to obtain a soft compact dough. Roll out with a rolling pin to a sheet about 3 mm thick. Before making the last pass with the rolling pin, sprinkle the dough with a little sugar and roll it into the surface of the dough. Cut into diamonds or rectangles (about 4 cm on a side), place on a buttered and floured baking sheet and place in a 220˚C oven for 10–15 minutes. They are done when they are just beginning to brown around the edges. Remove from the baking sheet immediately and leave to cool on a wire rack.
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